Page last updated at 09:32 GMT, Thursday, 4 September 2008 10:32 UK

Theatre shuts in Shakespeare town

Shakespeare first folio
The theatre put on Shakespearience, which told the story of the Bard

A 180-seat theatre in the home town of William Shakespeare will be shut from next week after the firm went into administration.

The Waterside Theatre, which opened in Stratford-upon-Avon four years ago, was home to Shakespearience, which told the story of the Bard's life.

Dynamic Attractions Ltd, which owns the theatre, blamed last year's flooding for its financial troubles.

It said it had lost out on bookings. Its 24 staff will be made redundant.

The firm went into administration in July, but the theatre was kept open while the situation was reviewed.

Its owners had hoped the theatre, near Bancroft Gardens, could be sold but no buyers came forward.

Along with Shakespearience, the venue put on the regular The Shakes comedy night along with independent productions.

'Very sad'

Phil Hackett, chief executive of tourist agency Shakespeare Country, said the floods had a "massive effect" on the town and many theatres lost "hundreds of thousands" of bookings as a result.

However, he said he hoped the closure of The Waterside Theatre would not have too much of an impact on the town.

He said: "Obviously it's very sad and a very poor issue that The Waterside Theatre will be closing next week, and we can always do with some additional attractions for people to come and visit.

"The breadth of things on offer in Stratford is always good.

"However, I don't think it's going to make a massive impact on the area. Hopefully someone will come along with a new idea for that part of town as soon as possible."

He added that other attractions had been boosted by the Royal Shakespeare Company's latest production of Hamlet.

The play, which features star actors David Tennant and Patrick Stewart, has been sold out since May - two months before it started.

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